2013

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Research and progress for progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

November 15, 2013

I am delighted to write the blog over the Progressive MS session that was given at ECTRIMS 2013.  Much emphasis has been given to the need for more research in the fields of progressive MS.  The majority of MS patients fit into this broad category: primary progressive MS, secondary progressive MS, and progressive relapsing forms of the disease.  During a session devoted to progressive MS, leaders in the field discussed several initiatives underway to address the challenges presented by these forms of the disease. 

Rehabilitation is a mainstay and key to improving the lives of patients with progressive MS. Many patients describe their progression in terms of mobility decline, which is a major target of improvement in rehabilitation programs.

The first session was devoted to confusion surrounding the definition of “progression in MS.”  We use ...

Fall in love with pumpkin

November 15, 2013

The season’s clock has turned to autumn. The air is crisp, vibrant shades of red and orange color the trees, cozy sweaters appear from the back of the closet and pumpkin everything seems to have hit the store shelves.

From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin spice donuts, even pumpkin pie spice Pringles potato chips! It seems as though we have forgotten the important, all-star vegetable amongst this madness: pumpkin itself!

Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable brimming with nutrition that can be used in many different forms. Pumpkin provides a wide range of health benefits including helping keeping your vision sharp and waistline slim. Here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin:

  • Vitamin A to perk your peepers: Chock full of the antioxidant beta-carotene, the dark orange hue provides greater than 200% of the RDA for Vitamin A in a 1-cup serving. Eating foods high in Vitamin A helps protect your sight, especially night vision.
  • ...

How to manage tinnitus (when your ears are ringing)

November 11, 2013

Almost all individuals experience ”transient ear noises,” which is the intermittent sensation of ringing (lasting less than five minutes)— typically in one ear. At times this sensation is accompanied by a sensation of fullness or a momentary change in hearing. When this change is brief, it is a normal phenomenon. If it lasts longer than 5 minutes twice week, you should be evaluated for tinnitus.

Service animals help support people with MS

November 08, 2013

On October 21, 2013 the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute hosted a meet and greet with Buddy Hayes, national speaker for Canine Companions for Independence.  Buddy, as she prefers to be called, is a military veteran and the owner of Stanford, a handsome Labrador Retriever service dog given to her by Canine Companions for Independence.

Canine Companions for Independence is the largest national nonprofit organization provider of assistance dogs in the United States.  Canine Companions proudly provides assistance dogs to people in need completely free of charge.  They use hundreds of volunteers around the country and an expert team of professionals to deliver a service that allows people to continue living active and independent...

4th Annual Holidays at the Hospital at Swedish

November 08, 2013

We hope you can join us for a winter wonderland celebration for Swedish Pediatric patients, families, & friends!

This is a free, fun, and festive holiday celebration for the community that will feature:

  • Carolers
  • Photos with Santa
  • Teddy Bear Clinic
  • Cookie decorating
  • Holiday activities and crafts tables
  • Plus, we’ll have a super special guest from the Seattle Sounders, Roger Levesque!

We’ll also be collecting toys for children up to age 18 as well as donations for art supplies and games. Donated items will be given to children at the hospital receiving care and treatment.

Where:
Swedish First Hill
1101 Madison, Medical Tower Lobby
Seattle, WA 98122
**Free parking is available on the s...

What you should know about influenza or flu vaccines

November 04, 2013

Influenza or the “flu” is a contagious viral disease that occurs every winter in the US from October to May.  While anyone can get a “flu” infection, some people are especially vulnerable and at risk for severe disease.  Each year thousands of people die from influenza infections and many more are hospitalized.  Getting your annual flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu and its complications.

The influenza virus is spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact.  The symptoms can occur quite suddenly. Typical symptoms are high fevers and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny nose.  Although anyone can get the flu, children, people over 65 years old, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions are at risk for severe disease and complication. 

The flu virus is always changing. Each year the flu vaccine is made to protect from the virus strains most likely to cause disease. ...

Testosterone is associated with worse disease severity in men with early relapsing onset multiple sclerosis

November 01, 2013

MS and many other autoimmune diseases are less common in men than in women. This is especially true during reproductive years. Sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, may be responsible for the difference. It is thought that men with multiple sclerosis may have lower testosterone levels than healthy controls.

Dr. Bove and his group assessed the prevalence and clinical associations of hypogonadism in men with recent onset relapsing multiple sclerosis.  Male subjects from the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigations of MS at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (CLIMB) cohort were included. Hormonal measures included testosterone, the testosterone: estradiol ratio, leutinizing hormone (LH), and free testosterone. Clinical outcomes were collected every 6 months for Expanded Disease Severity Scale (EDSS), and annually for Symbol Digit Modalities test (SDMT).

The analysis included 96 men with a mean age of 40 years, disease duration of 4...

What causes constipation and how is it treated?

November 01, 2013

People often fear the worst about constipation.  Constipation is very common and only rarely signifies something serious.  Just because the average person has a bowel movement daily doesn’t mean you have to—if normal for you is every 3, 5, or 7 days that is okay so long as it’s not adversely affecting your life. In many cases, people with constipation struggle with it all their lives and are looking to be certain nothing more serious is going on and for a way to treat their symptoms.  Even in people with relatively new onset of constipation, there usually is a simple solution.  It is certainly reasonable to have your constipation assessed but in the absence of other warning signs for more serious disease, additional testing related to constipation is not always essential.

What are the causes of constipation?

Colonic inertia

  • Most cases of constipation are caused by colonic inertia, whic...

Therapy and rehab for stroke survivors

October 26, 2013

Stroke survivors often encounter physical, cognitive or emotional challenges after their stroke. Rehab helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged.  Participating in physical or occupational therapy can be extremely beneficial in assisting patients and their families in the recovery process.

Physical therapists commonly examine, evaluate, and treat stroke patients, facilitating progress towards restoring function, reducing pain, and preventing further injuries or complications.  This therapy is a form of exercise treatment to help with mobility, strength and general function based upon the individual’s needs.

Occupational therapists focus on occupations or activities are meaningful to the individual. They develop individualized care plans that may include adaptations for how to perform tasks, changes to the survivor’s surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors.  These plans are designed to ...<...

Gut Microbiome: Studying the links between people, bacteria, and MS

October 25, 2013

Our bodies are made of billions of cells. However, the cells in our bodies are far outnumbered by the bacteria that cover our skin and inhabit our gut. These bacteria are now increasingly recognized to have an important role in maintaining our health. For example, skin bacteria help protect us from more dangerous bacteria that could invade us. Gut bacteria help digest our food. There are suggestions that changes in these bacteria, particularly those in the gut, might play a role in several diseases.